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The shape of the Universe

Big Bang glow hints at funnel-shaped Universe

Could the Universe be shaped like a medieval horn? It may sound like a surrealist's dream, but according to Frank Steiner at the University of Ulm in Germany, recent observations hint that the cosmos is stretched out into a long funnel, with a narrow tube at one end flaring out into a bell. It would also mean that space is finite....

In the model, technically called a Picard topology, the Universe curves in a strange way. One end is infinitely long, but so narrow that it has a finite volume. At the other end, the horn flares out, but not for ever - if you could fly towards the flared end in a spaceship, at some point you would find yourself flying back in on the other side of the horn (see diagram).

A good book for background on this question of the shape of the Universe is How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space, by Janna Levin.

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